Wordtravels

Wordtravels

Bo-Kaap

Bo-Kaap, Cape Town © Stephanjvv
Bo-Kaap, Cape Town © Stephanjvv

The Bo-Kaap (old Malay Quarter) was declared an exclusive residential area for the Muslim Cape Malays under the apartheid era's Group Areas Act of 1950, forcing people of other religions and ethnicity to leave. The term 'Cape Malay' was originally used to describe the slaves from Malaysia, Indonesia, and various African countries who were imported to the Cape of Good Hope by the Dutch during the 16th and 17th centuries (rather than just to describe Malaysian slaves). Today, the area is still closely associated with the Muslim community and has a distinct and vibrant character. The houses have been restored and colourfully painted. The steep cobbled streets, mosques, minarets, and blend of Cape Dutch and Edwardian architecture also contribute to making it one of the city's most interesting cultural and historical areas. The Bo-Kaap Museum on Wale Street documents the history of the Cape Malays and is worth a visit for those wanting a more in-depth understanding of the area.

There are also some fun and interesting walking tours available. The Bo-Kaap is a great favourite with photographers and its charm ensures that it is the frequent subject of Cape Town postcards.

Address: Museum: 71 Wale Street, Bo-Kaap, Cape Town

Website: www.iziko.org.za/museums/bo-kaap-museum